Quick: What's your bet for the first Super Bowl ad on Sunday - Budweiser, Pepsi or Ford?
Or, how about Option 4: Who cares?
That's the attitude of Washington University marketing Professor Seethu Seetharaman, who opines on the Wash U. website that "Super Bowl advertising has become hugely wasteful in the era of social networks."
In other words, we no longer need to feel guilty about using the bathroom after the opening kickoff 'cause we know the funniest ads will be there for us later on Facebook. More time for beer runs!
"A Super Bowl ad is not going to be noticed as much as a catchy e-mail/viral campaign that spreads organically among users," explains Seetharaman, who questions whether advertisers this year will be able to recoup their $3 million investments on 30-second spots.
The name of the game now, he and his colleagues say, is interaction between consumer and producer. Take, for example, Pepsi, who last year withdrew from the Super Bowl lineup, plugging their money instead into community-outreach PR. On Sunday, Pepsi will be back on the airwaves, but in a nontraditional way: Before running an ad, the company will use social media to let fans choose which spot to run, according to the researchers.
Oh, and for the record, our vote for first ad is Budweiser. We hear the Clydesdales are coming back.
And now, for your Friday entertainment, a bit of pre-social media Super Bowl marketing that's stood the test of time: